Sooty hiding her face from the world. I have found myself in a similar situation as sickness strikes our home again. Will it ever end?!
In the meantime, we have been having big conversations about how to move forward.
A suggestion came up recently to buy my parents' vineyard in South Australia after the next harvest, as they are looking to retire sometime in the coming two years. Due to where William is at in school, it's unlikely that will work, as we want him to be well settled in before year 11/12. But it got us looking at options, and we could potentially afford to buy a similar property in the region, which is the area where I grew up. The property could be established, with a house/shedding and mains power and water. You get more for your money there than you can here.
But as with everything, there are pros and cons to such a move. The pros are that we would be closer to old friends and family and we would move to an actual house. Day to day life would be significantly easier.
But, we have opportunities here as a family that we wouldn't have there. It's a totally different style of farming, livestock compared to horticulture. It's breathtakingly beautiful, and the children are settled into wonderful schools and youth groups.
This kid has never known a 'normal' life. She lives in the bush, with countless animals as her friends. She has a really magical childhood.
When it comes to the crunch, the main frustrations I have been struggling with are access problems and housing. We are beginning to outgrow the yurt. It's been a great little home but with a teen and a tween in the house, space is at a premium. I don't mind living simply, in fact, it's kinda my thing. But I am struggling with not having a space of my own. To maintain some level of long term sanity, I need to be able to sew and write without needing to rescue my laptop from the threat of spills or deal with constant interruptions. The only place I can work is on the kitchen table, which also acts as a food prep area, a desk, the laundry folding station, art studio, and home office for 5 other people. Even if they are not using it directly, they are inevitably milling around me. Jostling, asking questions and generally needing me. All. The. Time.
After a week or two of prayer, weighing things up, and exploring options we are leaning towards staying. But the process of considering options was important for me. I needed to remember we will always have different cards on the table, and that choosing a different path doesn't equate to failure if that's what is right for our family. It's funny the stories we subconsciously tell ourselves, which when put under examination don't actually stack up.
However, Grant enjoys his work and though things have been incredibly tough I do believe we are close to breaking the back of this place. I just need to keep reminding myself.
Most people give up just when they're bout to achieve success. They quit on the one-yard line. They give up at the last minute of the game, one foot from a winning touchdown.
H. Ross Perot
The bugs are not far from having their new home which is a good side income when running well. Which will make all the difference to our budget and our sense of financial security. I am slowly meeting more people as everything opens back up and playgroups and the like have returned on a regular basis. Our family has decided to make building community and attending local events more of a priority. We have been terrible at losing ourselves in all the work that needs to be done here. However, the work will never end. The projects we take on, need to be meaningful and align with our values. We could do any number of things here, but that doesn't mean we should.
We have also been considering options on how we can create more space and some privacy for me. One option is to build a deck and add a couple of fully insulated rooms under it for the boys, linked by a kind of indoor/outdoor living space. Elsie would move up to the cozy loft and I would turn her little room into my study/sewing room. Another option we have considered is buying an old timber cottage, re-locating it and then renovating it as funds allow. If I were to be honest, purchasing a cottage and renovating it would be my preferred option. Then we could rent out the yurt for a small amount of rent + a few hours of gardening/week to a couple or young family interested in living a simpler, more sustainable life. But we will see where we are financially in a few months once the bugs are up and going.
Wet washing hanging on the line above the wood burning Aga, and clean washing folded on the table, patiently waiting for people to put it away.
It is good to consider options and to remember that the way things are now, is not the way they will always be. Everything always seems more challenging when everyone is sick. And we have had a lot of sickness over the last couple of months.
There are many people I have talked to over the years that are waiting for the perfect opportunity, or the perfect property to move to. They dream of living a different life, they talk about living another life but the idea of actually making the change is paralyzing. And look, I get it. We all fear failure and looking silly to a degree. Of people saying "I told you so." But unless we are willing to consider change, and I mean truly consider it, we will never know what we could be missing out on. There is wisdom in waiting, researching and not rushing into a situation. But we also only have one life. Sometimes it can be helpful to review all the options on the table, even if it's just to ensure we are still on the right path. Whatever that path may be.
As far as life on the farm goes, it looks like we have another week of rain on the cards, and the Aga has been burning 24/7. There is clean washing drying in every available space. My garden has slowed for winter, and naughty Aggie dug up a bunch of seedlings. Those she didn't brutalise, seem to have stopped growing. Ahh well, one day I'll have a good size greenhouse to prolong the growing season.
Anyway, I hear little footsteps shuffling out of the bedroom and it seems Elsie has woken up from her midday nap. I hope all is well with you. Are you considering any changes big or small in your life?